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Old 10 January 2009, 08:59 PM   #1
tsthk
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What are the 10 best watch movements?

Hi fellow TRF members!

Anyone know what the 10 best watch movements are? Just curious to know if Rolex's 4130 movement has a place on (or near) the list.

Thanks.
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Old 10 January 2009, 09:13 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by tsthk View Post
Hi fellow TRF members!

Anyone know what the 10 best watch movements are? Just curious to know if Rolex's 4130 movement has a place on (or near) the list.

Thanks.
This is short list of outstanding movements that should all easily achieve a daily consistency of five seconds or better on the wrist.All of the current Rolex calibers including the Cal 4130 this a outstanding chronograph movement with a excellent power reserve and one of the best around now. But there are many others in the same class accuracy wise but less power reserve.

The ETA 2892-A2, ETA 2824/2T chronometer grade, ETA Valjoux 7750,Unitas 6497/8,Omega 2500, JLC 889/2 , JLC 960, Longines 990 (Lemania 8815), PP 215, PP 240,Now the Grand Seiko 430 is one of best movements ever made IMHO.Others like the Zenith 400,Zenith 670, GP 3100 all excellent movements, plus there are many more.Would not call any modern movement made today best,whats best in one persons eyes is better in another's.But most movements today from Alpha to every day Seiko, Miyota and all the high end brands all have there place in todays horological world.
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Old 10 January 2009, 10:10 PM   #3
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I think the top ten should be some Vacheron Constantin, Patek Phillipe etc pieces of art! The rest are just simple (compared to high end grand complication watches) yet robust and reliable movements! Of course, with prices from 50k up to over a million, watches with grand complication movements are not for everyone!! Just my opinion and understanding!
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Old 10 January 2009, 10:30 PM   #4
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Thanks for the nice info, Padi!!!
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Old 10 January 2009, 11:08 PM   #5
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Interesting to understand OP definition of best.
Is it based on reliability, robustness, accuracy or level of adornment.
As has been stated there are many great movements, but to high lite on as the best would need a set criteria to measure against.
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Old 11 January 2009, 09:41 AM   #6
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Cal. 3135
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Old 11 January 2009, 09:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsthk View Post
Hi fellow TRF members!

Anyone know what the 10 best watch movements are? Just curious to know if Rolex's 4130 movement has a place on (or near) the list.

Thanks.
For what it's worth, here's what Gene Stone writes in The Watch (which I highly recommend as a book).
  1. Rolex 3135
  2. Audemars Piguet 3120
  3. Jaeger-LeCoultre 975
  4. ETA 2892
  5. Omega 2500
  6. Girard-Perregaux 3300
  7. Piguet 1150
  8. Glashutte Original 95
The ordering is his, but I don't see a source here (the list is on page 241).

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Old 11 January 2009, 10:07 AM   #8
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rolex cal. 3130. and then a bunch of others...
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Old 11 January 2009, 10:16 AM   #9
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Yeah

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rolex cal. 3130. and then a bunch of others...
Since the 3135 is based on the 3130 (sans complication), I'd have thought it would have ranked higher by the criteria Stone stated in putting Rolex at number one:
  • Perhaps the most accurate
  • Robust
  • Serviceable
Goes on to add: "the only mass-produced automatic with an overcoil hairspring, a significant contributor to good accuracy across positions and states of wind."

The reason I came back to add this (thanks for the prompting, Cody) was because of the criteria. When folks argue "this is best" or "that is best," they often do so in isolation, not in combination w/ the other aspects of the total package that must perform.
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Old 21 February 2010, 04:08 PM   #10
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If you are talking about chronographs only- Rolex 4130 is the simplest and most serviceable chronograph movement with least number of components in the category. That what I read.

Also I had my AD do the pressure test on my D serial 116520 today and before doing so I asked him to pop up the case back to see the movement. I was delighted to see the blue parachrome hairspring which is supposed to be antimagnetic and shock resistant than any other make ever. Now that makes 4130 best in the category :)
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Old 21 February 2010, 04:29 PM   #11
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The criteria do have plenty to do with this thread. Some are accurate, and some, are art work. Some are more complicated, and others are solid work horses. I was surprised to see very nice movements in mid range watches such as Tutima, and Fortis. I'd be interested to know which is recomended in the basic price ranges of $2k & under, $6k & under, and $15K.
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Old 21 February 2010, 04:30 PM   #12
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Can't offer an educated answer , however did find this nice link....
http://people.timezone.com/mdisher/a...135/3135_1.htm
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Old 21 February 2010, 09:15 PM   #13
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The best movements are going to be found in : Patek, AP, VC and JLC--lot of good articles about it in different watch magazines--google it.
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Old 21 February 2010, 09:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yannis7777 View Post
I think the top ten should be some Vacheron Constantin, Patek Phillipe etc pieces of art! The rest are just simple (compared to high end grand complication watches) yet robust and reliable movements! Of course, with prices from 50k up to over a million, watches with grand complication movements are not for everyone!! Just my opinion and understanding!
While I would agree Patek make some very fine movements with a lot of complications.And yes they are very expensive and need quite a bit of expensive service to keep them in top form. But even Patek Philippe never made their own movements till the middle 1930s.And they still use a Lemania made Cal 2310 ebauche as a base, for some of there two register m/wind chronographs but they are highly modded by Patek.So what defines best today while there are many movements and brands like Patek,JLC,AP.and VC they are certainly the most expensive today and yes all fine movements.But better thats down to opinion IMHO as a movement you will have to go a long way to better the cal 3135 .But brands like Seiko with the Seiko Grand IMHO can equal the best of the Swiss in watches with say just a date complication.
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Old 21 February 2010, 11:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by padi56 View Post
This is short list of outstanding movements that should all easily achieve a daily consistency of five seconds or better on the wrist.All of the current Rolex calibers including the Cal 4130 this a outstanding chronograph movement with a excellent power reserve and one of the best around now. But there are many others in the same class accuracy wise but less power reserve.

The ETA 2892-A2, ETA 2824/2T chronometer grade, ETA Valjoux 7750,Unitas 6497/8,Omega 2500, JLC 889/2 , JLC 960, Longines 990 (Lemania 8815), PP 215, PP 240,Now the Grand Seiko 430 is one of best movements ever made IMHO.Others like the Zenith 400,Zenith 670, GP 3100 all excellent movements, plus there are many more.Would not call any modern movement made today best,whats best in one persons eyes is better in another's.But most movements today from Alpha to every day Seiko, Miyota and all the high end brands all have there place in todays horological world.
I have a Longines Flagship , left by my grandfather . It has the 341 movement . A watchmaker told me that it is one of the finest movements ever made . Not a clue if that is true .
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Old 21 February 2010, 11:16 PM   #16
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Good choices so far....

If we're gonna say 3135 then we may as go for the 3186 instead which is pretty much the same with the extra GMT complication i think? In fact it's probably easier to just say the 31xx range.

Other current newly released movements will have to include the Omega 8500 (not the 2500 as it's been too unreliable), and the Seiko spring Drive although I don't know enough about them to say which exact model is definitive in the range.

On Chrono side we also have to consider the Piguet 1185/1285 which power a whole host of other manufacturers watches in various guises and must not forget the Lemania 1873 and the El Primero.
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Old 22 February 2010, 12:38 AM   #17
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"Best" is an impossible criteria...

Best what?

Accuracy? Durability? Beauty? Complication? Longevity?

The "best" chrono movement I ever had was in an Omega SMP 2225.80 (cal 1164 - which is a modified V7750)- it was dead flat accurate for 6 months + - 0 (and kept that same variance when I ran the chrono for 2 weeks straight just to screw with it).

"best" Rolex movement I've ever had was a 30 year old 1570 in a TT 1601 - same accuracy.

My 3135 16613 is a solid +1 every 10 days or so - and has the benefit of being so well designed for service, durability, and longevity as to be the stuff of legend.

Do any of these compare to the Patek cal 89 with 33 complications and 1728 parts? Nope.

Is the Patek better? Not to me. (I would have to spend more for one service than we spent for our house)

But for a $6,000,000 watch it has a pretty cool movement. I can understand how important it is to have your watch know what day Easter falls on. And those pesky Leap Years...I missed the last one, because my watch didn't self correct - and wrote the wrong date on all my checks for 3 years. Don't even get me started on missing the turn of the last 2 decades.

If only my watch had alerted me....

Best? Impossible to define.
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Old 22 February 2010, 04:40 AM   #18
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I have a Longines Flagship , left by my grandfather . It has the 341 movement . A watchmaker told me that it is one of the finest movements ever made . Not a clue if that is true .
IMHO in their hay-day Longines made some very fine movement and the Longines twin-barrel movements were something I wish had survived in current production,a brilliant movement,but expensive to make. Calibre 890, 892 & 893 had stacked twin barrels where calibres 990 to 994 had side-by-side barrels in a movement only 2.95mm thick.Now back in those days the power reserve of 44 hours was respectable but not particularly impressive for a twin-barrel movement. Although I'm sure that if R & D had continued on this movement this would have been substantially improved.And would have put many a modern movements to shame,from any manufacturer or brand today.And yes back in the late 1950s 1960s Longines made some fine movements.I had one of the first flagship Longines with the Cal 30L a very nice movement.It went on to be developed into the Cal 340 and its variants up to the cal 345 12-line 19800BPH.But at this time many Swiss manufactures were in trouble and sadly the movement side of the business is now long gone but not forgotten by some.
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Old 22 February 2010, 05:11 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rscmaine View Post
"Best" is an impossible criteria...

Best what?

Accuracy? Durability? Beauty? Complication? Longevity?

The "best" chrono movement I ever had was in an Omega SMP 2225.80 (cal 1164 - which is a modified V7750)- it was dead flat accurate for 6 months + - 0 (and kept that same variance when I ran the chrono for 2 weeks straight just to screw with it).

"best" Rolex movement I've ever had was a 30 year old 1570 in a TT 1601 - same accuracy.

My 3135 16613 is a solid +1 every 10 days or so - and has the benefit of being so well designed for service, durability, and longevity as to be the stuff of legend.

Do any of these compare to the Patek cal 89 with 33 complications and 1728 parts? Nope.

Is the Patek better? Not to me. (I would have to spend more for one service than we spent for our house)

But for a $6,000,000 watch it has a pretty cool movement. I can understand how important it is to have your watch know what day Easter falls on. And those pesky Leap Years...I missed the last one, because my watch didn't self correct - and wrote the wrong date on all my checks for 3 years. Don't even get me started on missing the turn of the last 2 decades.

If only my watch had alerted me....

Best? Impossible to define.
I would have to agree as a whole with this opinion. Must be defined in function of each variable.
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Old 22 February 2010, 05:59 AM   #20
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Old 13 December 2012, 07:21 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by yannis7777 View Post
I think the top ten should be some Vacheron Constantin, Patek Phillipe etc pieces of art! The rest are just simple (compared to high end grand complication watches) yet robust and reliable movements! Of course, with prices from 50k up to over a million, watches with grand complication movements are not for everyone!! Just my opinion and understanding!
Yes, all very good calibres BUT, I own/have owned Rolex GMT master, Rolex oyster day date, Rolex explorer (series 1), Cartier tank francaise, Rose gold Rotary, various omegas, Longines, tag heuers and Seikos. My newest watch is a Nomos Glashutte "club" and, as a timekeeper it beats them all!!
My Rolex's are "best" but have NEVER been better than 10/15 seconds lost per day (even after being re-adjusted by Rolex). My Nomos Club
is losing 5 seconds a day and has retained that accuracy for several weeks now.
My wife has a Nomos "Tetra" which uses the same Nomos alpha movement and, that too keeps almost perfect time according to TIMEGMT!!!
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Old 14 December 2012, 01:30 PM   #22
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......................My Rolex's are "best" but have NEVER been better than 10/15 seconds lost per day (even after being re-adjusted by Rolex).........
Seems quite odd that you have had multiple Rolex ownership experiences so far out of COSC and way out of what most TRF posters list.

I think most TRF posters claim +/- 2 sec/day with various Rolex calibres. Many are <1 sec/day off, including mine.
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Old 14 December 2012, 02:43 PM   #23
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rolex 1570 lasts forever,slower beat rate, but still chronometer and millions still going strong 40+ years later. It has stood the test of time imho.
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Old 14 December 2012, 03:49 PM   #24
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IMHO, the best non-complication movements are:

Rolex 3135
Omega 2500
ETA Valjoux 7750
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Old 14 December 2012, 04:30 PM   #25
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IMHO in their hay-day Longines made some very fine movement and the Longines twin-barrel movements were something I wish had survived in current production,a brilliant movement,but expensive to make. Calibre 890, 892 & 893 had stacked twin barrels where calibres 990 to 994 had side-by-side barrels in a movement only 2.95mm thick.Now back in those days the power reserve of 44 hours was respectable but not particularly impressive for a twin-barrel movement. Although I'm sure that if R & D had continued on this movement this would have been substantially improved.And would have put many a modern movements to shame,from any manufacturer or brand today.And yes back in the late 1950s 1960s Longines made some fine movements.I had one of the first flagship Longines with the Cal 30L a very nice movement.It went on to be developed into the Cal 340 and its variants up to the cal 345 12-line 19800BPH.But at this time many Swiss manufactures were in trouble and sadly the movement side of the business is now long gone but not forgotten by some.
Peter, you never fail to impress with your knowledge! Always a pleasure to read your posts!

What's the thought on Panerai in-house such as the 8 day 2002?
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Old 14 December 2012, 06:37 PM   #26
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Peter, you never fail to impress with your knowledge! Always a pleasure to read your posts!

What's the thought on Panerai in-house such as the 8 day 2002?
Thank you but afraid Panerai is not my best subject although the 8 day movement is not something new.Back in the 1940s they used a Angelus 240 8 Day movement on the dive watches for Italian navy.But today like most brands who now have been forced to make there own movements instead of mostly using ebauche movements from ETA/Valjoux. Now they are all making them at a high original cost,its very expensive to develop and tool up to make a completely new movement.But once the original cost set up and with today's automation then you can make them at a high turn out rate.But still to a high standard of finish and accuracy as in theory all parts machine made should be the same other wise simply they would not survive in today's market.
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Old 14 December 2012, 07:15 PM   #27
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Great thread and posts here. Personally, I'm also still amazed by both the 40+ year-old 1570 (1575)s beating away so accurately and reliably in my vintage Rolex (1675 and 1680), so my vote would have to be for that one. I also have a 16600 which is currently being serviced by Rolex, and so I'm also very impressed with the 3135!

As most of us have, I've owned many watches over the years, including a couple of new Rolex, but mostly vintage (Omega and Heuer also), but the other one which stands out, for me, has been my humble TAG Heuer F1 - the original model, which I bought new in 1990. No-one has mentioned quartz movements here, yet, and although I much prefer auto/manual mechanical movements, I read somewhere that the movements used in the early F1 was one of the best quartz movements made, and certainly one of the best T.Heuer ever produced. Having seen images of recent ones, they don't compare. Not sure what it is - perhaps someone here knows? I don't have any photos, sorry. It's obviously very accurate, and has a substantial 'feel' about it when adjusting the hands/date. Not the 'cheap' feeling you often get with more modern quartz movements, if you know what I mean.

Cheers all, K.
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Old 14 December 2012, 09:58 PM   #28
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Even with everything so dependent upon the definition of "best," I've always found this TZ article on the C.O.S.C. to be particularly praising of Rolex and their movements:

http://people.timezone.com/library/w...33384647656250

Quote:
The World’s Most Accurate and Precise Movement Revealed

Now, among all the assorted WISes, watch enthusiasts and experts that frequent TimeZone to tell the world what watches they wear, it is extremely unlikely that any owns a watch with the world’s best performing movement. It is equally unlikely that the woman who owns a Rolex automatic Oyster Datejust is aware that the caliber 2235 automatic inside is the most consistently precise and accurate movement tested by COSC.

Even more amazingly, at less than 20mm, the Rolex 2235 falls into the smallest category where the tolerances are at their widest, yet performs well within the tightest allowances reserved for pocket-watches. Almost 200,000 of these movements passed the COSC test in 2001. Does Rolex have a secret? "It’s their immense know-how in construction and manufacturing," says Mr Curchod (former dean of the Geneva Watchmaking School, president of the Swiss Society of Chronometry and director of the Geneva laboratory of COSC) reverently.
I used to bust this article out all the time on people who'd spout nonsense about how they "heard Rolexes keep bad time," etc.
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Old 14 December 2012, 10:18 PM   #29
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Quote:
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While I would agree Patek make some very fine movements with a lot of complications.And yes they are very expensive and need quite a bit of expensive service to keep them in top form. But even Patek Philippe never made their own movements till the middle 1930s.And they still use a Lemania made Cal 2310 ebauche as a base, for some of there two register m/wind chronographs but they are highly modded by Patek.So what defines best today while there are many movements and brands like Patek,JLC,AP.and VC they are certainly the most expensive today and yes all fine movements.But better thats down to opinion IMHO as a movement you will have to go a long way to better the cal 3135 .But brands like Seiko with the Seiko Grand IMHO can equal the best of the Swiss in watches with say just a date complication.
Doesn't the Patek Philippe 5170 have an in-house movement?



I know that they didn't start making their own movements until a few decades ago (thank you for the precision about the 1930's! ) and they still had Lemania based complicated movements in their timepieces recently (take, for instance, the 5970, the 5070 and all those recently discontinued models) but it memory serves their current collection, although it is very recent indeed, has completely homemade models. I'm just wondering if I missed a current model somewhere that still have a Lemania based movement.

Thank you for the great answers Peter, I always learn new things whilst reading your posts!

Quote:
Originally Posted by padi56 View Post
But better thats down to opinion IMHO
I think this part of your answer sums it up my friend! While reading the posts in this thread I know I personally couldn't decide if I considered a tough and reliable movement or a very complicated and finished one better!
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Old 15 December 2012, 12:32 AM   #30
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Many interesting posts here, there is a lot more to learn
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